Saturday, 17 September 2011

Singlespeed UK Champs 2011

36 Hours after getting back from holiday, and with very tired legs (and what turned out to be a ludicrous tyre choice!) I set out this morning for the UK Singlespeed Championships and a very rare, for me, short XC "race".

I was happy to get around intact in super slippy conditions and ended up a satisfying 8th overall. Mostly I had a lot of fun and spent the day chatting bike rubbish with loads of good friends. A grand day out. 

Shonky SSUK welcome sign and directions
The event started ominously with a torrential downpour the minute I arrived and by the time the race began the course was sodden. it held up well to the rain and hundreds of laps being completed. What it didn't do, however, was give up any grip over 90% of it's surface. Not good for me with worn Small Block 8 tyres fitted font and rear as that was what was fitted when I threw the bike in the back of the car having just got back from two weeks away. Oops, quite the oversight on my part!
My ridiculously inappropriate tyre choice
My rear tyre is pictured here, often seen overtaking the front after any movement of the handlebars or pedalling during the event!
Brilliant first name number boards for enhanced heckling
Mine was augmented by Josh Ibbett and a felt tip pen
Once Josh had modified my race number with a felt tip, I was all ready to go. Well, after finding my bike that had been hidden or moved while the briefing and Le Mans start took place. Josh, again, was there to help out and found my bike (my new singlespeed Santa Cruz Highball) for me and I was away. Well as fast as my diesel-ish endurance legs would carry me.

A sore and still not quite right shoulder combined with a lack of grip turned me into a very cautious rider indeed and I eventually got around the first lap, apparently, and amazingly, in 10th place. All the more surprising as, as I was driving back later that day, I was unable to take the "beer shortcut" and instead took in the penalty climb, a pattern that I was forced to repeat every lap.
The course: Lots of fun, but slippery when wet
As the second and third laps passed and as some small amount of grip appeared, I eventually caught some of the previously distant, but now tiring riders in front of me and crossed the line in a creditable 8th place, very tired, very very muddy and with a huge smile on my face :-)

A huge thank you to Aidan Harding for making the event happen, and to Santa Cruz Bicycles & Syncros for helping me out with such a fun bike to go play on 

Finally, here's how the bike and I looked after the event:
There's a lot of mud caked onto them there legs
Tired, happy, muddy and probably worth mentioning tired again
That's quite a lot of mud on the seat stays but not a lot of tread on the tyre, not a high score combination!
That's even more mud around the bottom bracket
At least there's plenty of mud clearance on the Syncros FL 29er Fork

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